Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,253 / Eimi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on March 28th, 2013


It is Thursday today, so you never quite know who you will be pitting your wits against as solver/blogger. Today it was my turn to do battle with Eimi.

There was a distinctly cultural and artistic feel to today’s crossword, with famous names from the history of art featuring prominently in the grid. I am not sure how comfortably such names sat with such stars of popular culture as figured in 3 and 23, but then it is quite normal for the Indy crossword to blend highbrow with low; indeed, this is one of the things that I most enjoy about it. I haven’t spotted any Nina today, but then do I ever?

Overall, given the high standard of cluing, I was able to complete the grid successfully without fully recognising all the (alas, highbrow!) cultural references, e.g. at 11 and 19A, but my trusty friend Wikipedia came to the rescue. There was also new vocabulary for me at 26 and semi-new at 27.

My favourite clues today are 9, for its deceptive surface reading, and 7, again for its smooth surface and scrupulously accurate cluing (see “archaic” below). The misleading surface at 12, which seemed to clue the name of a quite different artist (see below), also raised a smile.

(…) indicates an anagram

8   SCI-FI Reversed (“written about”) and hidden (“some”) in “terrIFIC Stuff”
9   ELABORATE Double definition: ELABORATE is “fancy”, ornate (=adjective) AND “flesh out”, expand on (=verb)
10   AYATOLLAH [A + TOLL (=ring, as in For whom the bell tolls)] in AYAH (=nursemaid)
11   BOUTS O (=old) in BUTS (=objections); the reference is to e.g. the early Netherlandish painter Dieric Bouts (1415-75)
12   POUSSIN *(SOUP <t>INS); “not tomato   initially (=T)” means letter “t” is dropped from anagram; “various” is anagram indicator; the reference is to classical French baroque painter Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) – and not to Warhol, who appears at 4, as the clue might suggest!!
13   LAYETTE YET (=still) in LATE (=former, as an adjective)
15   LEONARDO DA   VINCI *(DAVID CA<m>ERON + LION); “and lost money (=M)” means letter “m” is dropped from anagram; “wrestling” is anagram indicator; the reference is to the Italian Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
19   BASSANO BASS (=singer) + A + NO (=number); the reference is to e.g. Italian painter Jacopo Bassano (1510-1592)
22   BILTONG <g>I<b>L<e>T<s> (“even bits of” means even letters only are used) in BONG (=water pipe, i.e. for smoking cannabis); biltong is a South African word for sun-dried lean meat
23   ANDRÉ Hidden in (“in”) “demAND cently”; the reference is to British-born reality TV star Peter André; & lit. depending on one’s perception of his popularity!
25   INSINCERE SINCE (=past) in IN RE (=concerning, in Latin)
26   SALTATION SAL<u>TATION (=greeting); that’s not universal (=U)” means letter “u” is dropped; saltation is abrupt variation or mutation, in biology
27   ICTUS <bened>ICTUS (=canticle of Zacharias, from the Gospel of Luke); “second half of” means first half of word is dropped; ictus is rhythmical or metrical stress in contradistinction to the usual stress of a word, in prose
1   MIRACULOUS [A + CU (=copper, i.e. chemical symbol)] in *(RIO SLUM); “dilapidated” is anagram indicator
2   TIMOR SEA T (=tension) + I<nspector> (“beginning of” means first letter of) + MORSE + A
3   DECLINED DEC (=diminutive Geordie TV presenter, i.e. of the duo Ant & Dec; diminutive since Dec stands for Declan and since he is only 5 ft 6 in tall!) + LINE D (=the fourth row, assuming that Line A is the first in e.g. a theatre)
4   WARHOL *(HARLOW); “surprisingly” is anagram indicator; the reference is to American pop artist Andy Warhol (1928-87)
5   TORBAY ORB (=ball) in TAY (=river)
6   BAKU UK (=British) + AB (=sailor); “going around” indicates reversal; Baku on the Caspian Sea is the capital of Azerbaijan
7   LESSEE ESSE (=existence) in L<eas>E (“terms” means first and last   letters of; “archaic” indicates that “term” is an old word for limit, boundary)
8   SCALPEL *(PLACES) + L (=liberal); “unfortunately” is anagram indicator; whimsical definition for surgical instrument
14   TINTORETTO TIN (=can) + TORE (=rent, i.e. into pieces) + <s>T<a>T<i>O<n> (“intermittently” means alternate letters only); the reference is to the Italian Renaissance painter Tintoretto (1518-94)
16   DEBASING DEB (=society girl, i.e. débutante) + A + SING (=squeal, i.e. grass on)
17   VALENCIA [ALE (=beer) in V<A>N (=vehicle; “hollowed out” means all but first and last letters are dropped)] + CIA (=agents, i.e. US intelligence agency)
18   INGRESS INGRES (=French painter) + S (=succeeded); the reference is to French Neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)
19   BRAISE *(SERBIA); “trained” is anagram indicator
20   ACETAL AC (=accountant) + ETAL (LATE=not on time; “sent over” indicates reversal)
21   OSIRIS OS (SO; “upset” indicates vertical reversal) + IRIS (=Murdoch, i.e. author)
24   DALI <considere>D (“ultimately” means last letter only) + ALI (=The Greatest, i.e. boxer Muhammad Ali); the reference is to Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali (1904-89)


9 Responses to “Independent 8,253 / Eimi”

  1. allan_c says:

    This seems to be a week for themes. Today it’s artists and maybe there’s a parallel theme as today is Maundy Thursday, the day associated with the Last Supper. Leonardo’s painting of the Last Supper is well known, but Bouts, Poussin and Tintoretto also painted it, as, believe it or not, did both Warhol and Dali!

    Thanks, eimi and RR

  2. crypticsue says:

    Like Allan I did notice the Last Supper theme. A very nice crossword, and wordplay that enabled you to get the ‘unknown’ artists without any invesigoogling. Thanks to eimi and RR.

  3. flashling says:

    Does this Last Supper thing mean there’s a “Da Vinci Code” type Nina to unscramble from Eimi in here somewhere ;-)

    The link went over my head although Eimi often does a topical puzzle for us.

    Thanks Eimi & RR for the write up.

  4. allan_c says:

    Forgot Bassano – he painted it too.

  5. Rorschach says:

    Good crossword. Clever theme. Very enjoyable!

    Thanks Eimi and RR

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks RR, for the blog. I was pleased to get all the artists without resorting to external devices, but I missed the theme. Clever though.

    Good puzzle from eimi – thank you to him too.

    Another religious theme from Phi tomorrow?

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    Apologies for the late (or should we say early?) comment. As usual we started this late and then found that we had no internet access.

    We managed to sort out all the artists thanks to excellent clueing from Eimi. We were puzzled by his appearance when we failed to find any relevant, topical theme. All is now revealed – where would we be without 225?

    Thanks eimi and RR.

  8. RatkojaRiku says:

    I hadn’t linked the artists together in any way, so well done to those that did. Had Last Supper appeared in the grid in one form or another, then I might have spotted it, but without it, no way, not even with the give-away date!

  9. eimi says:

    Thanks to all for the nice comments and RatkojaRiku for the excellent deconstruction.

    I like to mark special occasions and often step in when the other setters haven’t provided anything. Good Friday and Easter have been covered before so I thought I’d try to do something based around Maundy Thursday. A travel tip for those who would like to see the Leonardo Last Supper in Milan, as I have been lucky enough to do twice, you can’t just turn up and see it – you must book in advance. Same with the Giotto frescoes in Padua.

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